As usual, he was late. I stood on the line marked with the number 7 and watched as the once completely full parking lot became increasingly less and less full. As each car drove by me and out towards the road that would take them home, I became extremely irritated by the fact that I should be sitting in the warmth of my dad’s car with my usual peppermint mocha in hand, but instead, there I was standing in the cold with the other lost and forgotten children. I had actually gotten to know those kids quite well as some of them were regulars to the late line just like me. As each minute passed by, my backpack got heavier and my legs got colder as I had made the not-so-smart decision to wear the short socks that day instead of the long ones. I could feel my plaid skirt blowing up from the wind and I watched as it happened to every other girl standing out there, we were all exactly the same, just how St. Joe’s liked it. I waited and waited until finally, twenty minutes later, I saw the oh so familiar red ford escape skrrt around the corner and speed into the now empty parking lot. I would say it took him a brick to get there, but it felt more like a brick and a half to me. I looked at my teacher, who knew the car right away from the amount of times she had seen me get in it late, and she gave me the go-ahead nod for me to proceed, with caution of course, to my ride.
I hopped into the car, took a sip of my coffee, and said, “Well, while we’re still young! Get me out of this prison or convent or school or whatever you people call it these days,” and on that note, he took the usual route and zoomed off towards the road. I was planning on yelling at him, but I did that yesterday and I was so exhausted so I just asked, “Was it golf or a conference call?” to which he answered, “Both.”. Did I know what he meant by this? Of course not, but I didn’t have the energy to care either. This routine was getting very tiring and also very cold as we were just about to break up for the “Holiday” Break (it used to be called Christmas break until the principal realized one Jewish family went to school there so they changed it to Holiday). I told my dad his new year's resolution should be to stop being late when picking me up and he just avoided the topic and told me to go change the radio station to Alt Nation. That’s one thing I will never understand. How could someone be twenty minutes late to pick up their only daughter, not bring her food, and then tell her change the radio station… TO ALT NATION?! Preposterous. Nowadays, I don’t mind a little Alt Nation here or there but way back in the good ole 7th grade days, I would have rather ripped my ears off. We finally got home another ten to fifteen minutes later and my coffee was already finished. I sprinted inside to take the medieval looking plaid skirt and dark green sweater from hell with the small St. Joe’s logo on the front off of my body. Wow, made it before 4:15, impressive. I finally sat down on the couch in my sweatpants and sweatshirt, did my homework, and ate dinner. Then all of a sudden it was 5:45 and I had to get ready for soccer practice where this would happen all...over...again.
Of course, every time my dad was late I was angry. Who wouldn’t be? But looking back on it now it was something I overlooked. His punctuality wasn’t the best, but it was part of who he was and I have recently realized that his punctuality is also a part of who I am. I, like my late father, am never on time for anything, and when I say anything I mean anything. I’m sure people get just as irritated with me as I did with him, but I can’t help it because it’s just they way I work. My dad and I were always closer than my mom and I were just because we were so similar in so many different respects. It was always us two that held us back when we were trying to leave for vacation or one of us that would forget something crucial at home when going somewhere with a time limit. Then, when he died, it was just me. Now it wasn’t us two forgetting something at home, it was me forgetting something at home and having no one to understand where I was coming from. Of course now, my mom and I are extremely close and I know she loves me immensely, but she doesn’t understand me or how I work because she’s not the same. My mom is the type of person to the be the first one at the family christmas party or get to the gate at an airport before the plane even gets there. I on, the other hand, am the type of person who would show up to the family christmas party just as people were leaving and barely make my plane if I do at all because as the White Rabbit said, “The hurrier I go the behinder I get,”. I never realized how much I needed someone there like me to understand my thought process until that someone wasn’t there any more. So yes, back in the day I got a smidge annoyed, but I would do anything for my dad to pick me up twenty minutes late with no snacks blasting Alt Nation again.